Siemens: Future Makers 360 VR Shoot - USA

M7Virtual embarked on another 360 VR shoot for the global marketing agency R/GA for the Siemens Future Makers project recently. We enjoyed working alongside the leading film production company RSA. This shoot would require the team to travel to Richmond, Virginia via Chicago, Illinois.

The success of this sort of project was reliant upon meticulous preparation and organisation. This was apparent when working with a company like RSA Films.

A number of problems can be encountered when travelling via multiple destinations for a 360 VR shoot. Flights can be cancelled and essential kit can be lost. Arriving in Chicago, the team faced both of these problems. A snowstorm hitting the city meant all connecting flights being cancelled and our kit going missing.

In case of this problem the team had pre-packed all 20 GoPro cameras and 6 Z-Cam cameras into hand luggage. This ensures that the most important kit stays with the team at all times. However we were still without our grip equipment which is just as integral to a 360 VR shoot.

An extra night in Chicago was required due to all flights being cancelled. We then flew to Charlotte, North Carolina for a connecting flight the following morning. Usually when this sort of problem occurs it would be up to the team to come up with a solution. By working with RSA Films, it meant the team didn't have to worry about solving this problem, which allowed us to concentrate on the job at hand.

The main protagonist of the film was Devon Tooley, a software developer for Siemens. Some of the shots included in the film captured Devon relaxing in her home playing her cello, whilst also keeping fit when running over the Belle Isle bridge. Both of these shots had different technical requirements. By bringing our VR expertise to the table we were able to use different camera rigs to achieve the best results for the client.

Devon's home had quite low lighting so we chose to use the Z-Cam E1 Z4XL rig due to it's ability to capture low light conditions. This kept the shot looking natural. When capturing the scene of Devon running over the bridge we used our Freedom 360 Broadcast rig. The MKX-19 Izugar lenses are ideal for this sort of shot. By using this rig it allowed us to shoot Devon running past the camera at close proximity, which our director, Juriaan Booij, favoured due to his intimate filming style.

This highlighted the importance of having different 360 camera rigs for different scenarios and also the value and knowing when to use them.

In contrast to these shots, we also captured Devon in her working environment in the Siemens DMDII facility in Chicago. This shot required a little more technical thinking. This was due to the shot demonstrating Devon speaking to her colleagues via webcam using a large projection screen. Due to the lighting conditions of the scene, projecting a video onto the screen during the shot caused a problem. The team overcame this by plating the projected video. Then we put it back in during the post production process.

Virtual reality is a fantastic way of immersing a viewer into another persons world. Not only where we able to allow the viewer to experience Devon’s lifestyle but we were able to capture Devon’s working environment and how she has come up with new ways of working together and sharing knowledge.

Working with RSA Films on this project showed M7Virtual the real value and importance of planning and preparation. When working abroad it's important to have a contingency plan in place for when problems out of your control occur. We look forward to our next project working with RSA Films and the next leg of our Siemens We Are Future Makers tour.

The finished film is available for download as part of the Siemens Future Makers app on the Apple App Store and Android Play Store, and can also be viewed on the Siemens website.

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